MultiChoice plans to take on Netflix with a new “hyper-local” content strategy, according to Group CEO Calvo Mawela.
Speaking in an interview on CNN Connecting Africa, Mawela outlined MultiChoice’s locally-focused content strategy for its traditional satellite and online broadcasting platforms.
“We have invested a lot in local content across the continent – we call it going hyper-local,” Mawela said.
He said that MultiChoice plans to make local content a much bigger part of its catalogue over the next few years.
“Each year we spend over R2 billion investing in local content productions across the whole continent and our plan is to increase our local content composition from 38% to 45% in the next two years,” Mawela said.
“We have been on this nice trajectory over a number of years and we think we should be able to achieve that.”
Big ambitions for competing with Netflix
Mawela made ambitious projections for MultiChoice’s operations in Africa, stating he expects the company to more than double its subscribers.
“We are sitting at over 20 million subscribers, and we think that we can grow very quickly to 50 million subscribers,” he said.
He added that these subscribers are fans of the company’s local content strategy and that MultiChoice’s African content will allow it to challenge Netflix for a share of the streaming market.
“Those are the people that understand us as a business and will transition with us as we move to the online side,” Mawela said.
“They are used to how we tell our stories and I think that is going to keep us competitive, and we should be able to challenge the likes of Netflix.”
He added that MultiChoice has a different offering to other streaming video-on-demand (SVOD) players.
“If we focus on going hyper-local that is a key differentiator, whereas the likes of Netflix, they will come and have some level of local content but I’m not sure if they will get to the level of localisation that we do in terms of different languages across the continent,” Mawela said.
“Based on our experience, they try to produce content on the continent and try to make sure that it can travel across the globe.”
DStv bleeding Premium subscribers
DStv, MultiChoice’s satellite broadcasting service, has been losing Premium subscribers for years.
This trend has continued as of its latest financial results, although it has shown significant growth in other subscriber segments.
The group added 2.1 million 90-day active subscribers across all regions in the past year, which was attributed to the adoption of its cheaper DStv packages.
MultiChoice has also reported impressive growth across its online platforms, which include Showmax, Showmax Pro, and its recently-launched DStv standalone streaming service.
It is also interesting to note that while DStv is competing with Netflix in South Africa, the Netflix application is bundled with its newest decoder and DStv customers can add their Netflix subscription to their DStv bill.